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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Winston-Salem, NC
    Posts
    7

    Default Strange Winter Bee-havior

    So one of my hives does not respond to the winter "knock" test; no buzz at all. Because of this, when it was colder in Dec. I thought it had died. But much to my surprise last weekend when I opened the top there were bees. There are not a ton of bees, maybe only a few thousand. There is a laying queen and plenty of food stores, these bees are just super-calm and quiet. They hardly do anything unless I start taking out frames where the brood are, only then do a few of them start buzzing and getting aggressive. One other behavior of note, I don't see them doing much to any orientation flights during the day, unlike the hive right beside it. I don't see any indication of sickness or disease, just some SHB, but that's pretty common in all my hives. These bees are small too, look like the hive is mostly nurse bees with a handful of foragers. I'm really not sure what's going on or if I should be concerned.

    Anyone have an experience like this?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gaithersburg, MD
    Posts
    363

    Default Re: Strange Winter Bee-havior

    I wouldn't be too concerned at this stage. Probably just the way they like to overwinter. Are all your hives the same stock? My first thought is that you have some local genetics in that hive that likes to downshift more in the winter than a standard italian hive. I'd just let them do their thing and see how they come out next spring.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Jackson, MO
    Posts
    554

    Default Re: Strange Winter Bee-havior

    My hive struggled all summer after I got it in July. Drought caused the queen to stop laying and they went down to about 3 frames of bees. Rain came in Sept. and she went to work. Things picked up and numbers increased. They laid in a few frames of honey.

    They were light going into winter, but I pulled feed in Nov. when it cooled off. They have had several flight days since when the weather warmed up. But otherwise, no activity at all. No sounds coming from the hive.

    Temps hit 57 today and they were out flying good. I cracked it open and flooded an empty comb with some 2:1 syrup and put a boardman feeder at the entrance. They flew all afternoon. Everything seem to be going fine. Looks like they are back down to about 3 frames of bees. I did not pull any frames to look for brood. I tried not to bother them too much. Temps are going to drop again tomorrow for a few weeks.

    I think they are going to make it thru unless the weather turns cold for a long time.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Vermontville, Michigan
    Posts
    88

    Default Re: Strange Winter Bee-havior

    I'm certain someone will correct me if I'm wrong, as this is my first winter as a beek, but I don't believe you want to feed syrup until the temps are going to be up for a few days, because of the increased humidity you're causing in the hive by introducing it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Jackson, MO
    Posts
    554

    Default Re: Strange Winter Bee-havior

    I only put it on for the warm weather, back off now due to freezing. I think 2:1 is ok, I doubt if they store any of it.

    And the hive has good air flow. Small opening on the bottom board, 3" spacer over top inner cover and under a plastic cover with a upper opening. Seems to be working so far, I did not notice any humidity in the hive. Bottom board and inner cover dry and clean.

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